- SANTA MONICA, Calif.
Veteran executive producer and entrepreneur Jay Sherrard has launched Mass Media Films (MMF), a Santa Monica-based production company with a roster and team set up to execute projects globally. MMF’s ensemble of talent is comprised of: tabletop/food and animal director/DP Mat Uhry; Scott McCullough, a proven car/action and beauty director/DP; directing duo Jason & Blue, known for their dramatic narrative and visual storytelling; cinematic sports and outdoor director/DP Marcus Taplin; and multi-disciplinary VFX artist Raphael LaMotta. MMF’s maiden project is the high-profile launch of Firework’s multi-camera recording app Gemi. Executed by MMF from concept through completion, that campaign includes a complex live action/VFX film shot vertically and horizontally, with millions of views garnered across multiple platforms.
Director/DP Uhry is known for capturing memorable imagery across numerous media--spots, music videos and indie films. Recent pre-COVID work in China, Bolivia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Namibia, the U.S. and more coalesce to form a diverse oeuvre spanning outdoor (he’s a recreational pilot and an FAA licensed part 107 Drone pilot), tabletop (he’s a foodie and cook), and animals (yes, he’s a trainer).
Long established as a director/DP for high-end commercials and music videos, McCullough is notable for his seminal collaborations with Prince, and work with Paul Newman, NASCAR, Ford, GM, Budweiser, Pepsi, Kubota, Target and other Fortune 500 clients via leading ad agencies. McCullough was the creator, writer, and director for R.J.Reynolds Thunder Theater 70mm NASCAR experience film “100% and No Bull”--billed as the world’s largest mobile theater.
Male and female, tactful and feeling, and directing as one voice, Jason & Blue evoke imagination and authentic human narratives. From Oasis Financial to The Boys and Girls Clubs, the duo bring anthemic power to their visual storytelling. They worked individually in production with clients such as Coke, Comedy Central, Funny or Die, Ziploc, The Onion and The American Lung Association, before collaborating as directors on a project for Deloitte, and have never looked back.
Director/DP Taplin has shot with some of the biggest names in sports, including Gatorade, REI, Pepsi, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, FOX Sports, NFL Films, and ESPN.
The MMF roster also boasts a one-man postproduction powerhouse in LaMotta, a comprehensive generalist called upon by the likes of Apple, Netflix, Kendrick Lamar, Universal, Disney and more, to scale up his studio of one to include any of the top-tier artists at his fingertips.
“We’d planned to announce the company earlier this year, but obviously the world turns on its own schedule,” said MMF founder Sherrard, an EP who has worked with filmmakers Spike Jonze, Hype Williams, Irv Blitz, and Matthew Rolston on music videos, commercials and more. Sherrard got his start in the mid-’90s at Paskal Lighting, quickly rising within the organization. “I learned to respect the clients’ time and money,” recalled Sherrard. “That mean, lean and efficient mentality served me well before the pandemic, and even more so now, when we all have to move like lightning through the mist.” At the same time, “lean” does not mean small. “My first experiences in film were stepping onto sets like Independence Day,” he recalled, “but even then my focus was on exceeding expectations. I had the name Mass Media Films for years and held onto it until I was ready to launch a global outfit, with relationships enabling me to execute on site or remotely. Now we’re set up for that.”
After Paskal, Sherrard had the opportunity to manage Occidental Studios, one of the oldest continuously operating movie studios in Hollywood. “Watching the best do what they do, I aspired to that,” said Sherrard, who next pursued a career as a music video director, launching Big Game Productions. He wrote, produced and directed his first film on 35mm. “Then the writer’s strike hit and a single-director shop didn’t make sense. I discovered I got much more fulfillment out of building rosters than directing. I love finding the right tools for the job--the director and DP, the crew--and I know their value.”
Mass Media Films is certified as an MBE (Minority Business Enterprise). “I’ve always felt that my race is the least important thing for you to know about me, but in the context of this climate, I see it differently,” Sherrard said. “I’m against pigeon-holing and categorizing talented people, but there has also been the reality of being the only Black guy on set at times. My experiences and career, the character it’s built, that’s my role in this movement--representing myself as an owner of a global production company. I am here. I’m visible, and a living example for aspiring filmmakers and entrepreneurs of all backgrounds that anything is possible, come what may.”
MMF is represented exclusively by Karen Lewellen in the U.S.